Nothing to lose? Diamond set to hit back in MP grilling

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Barclays' £290m fine has triggered another massive scandal
Barclays' £290m fine has triggered another massive scandal

Politicians, bankers and regulators are all bracing for Bob Diamond's potentially explosive evidence to the Commons' Treasury select committee this afternoon.

The former chief executive of Barclays, who resigned yesterday morning amid rising political and public anger about the Libor scandal, is expected to offer a robust defence of his conduct when he faces MPs from 14:00 BST.

He is set to reveal details of conversations with regulators about the interbank lending scandal which resulted in Barclays being fined £290 million last week.

Further revelations about discussions with politicians are also possible. But, despite his resignation yesterday, Diamond is not expected to point the finger at other banks or individuals which face investigation over the manipulation of Libor.


"It was inevitable that he would have to go," Treasury committee member and Labour backbencher Andy Love told politics.co.uk.

"In a sense, that clears the air of all of the issues round about whether he's staying or whether he's going.

"It really opens up the prospect that we can get to the bottom of what happened at Barclays and sheds some light on some of the ambiguity... about who knew what when, and what action they did or didn't take."

Yesterday David Cameron told MPs he was happy to publish a list of his meetings with bankers over the last two years.

The prime minister, agreeing with Treasury committee chair Andrew Tyrie, insisted: "When you've got a banking crisis you need to be talking to these people to understand the industry and understand what's going wrong."

Links between politicians and bankers are unlikely to be judged as unhealthy as those between politicians and journalists explored by the Leveson inquiry.

But both Tory and Labour MPs are nervous that Diamond's evidence could embarrass both current and former ministers.

Barclays' evidence published yesterday afternoon revealed a phone conversation between Diamond and Paul Tucker, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, who had suggested Barclays' setting of Libor was a response to his demands.

Meanwhile Barclays chairman Marcus Agius, who had been due to give evidence to the Treasury committee on Thursday, has delayed his appearance until next week.

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